The Queensland duo share secrets from their time on the show and reveal what’s up next for our favorite chefs.
It’s been a case of ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire’ for My Kitchen Rules favorites Paul Bullpitt and Blair Tonkin.
The Gold Coast surfer dads became firm fan favorites during the run of the hit Channel Seven show but narrowly missed out on a place in the Grand Final while cooking against controversial duo Chloe and Kelly. Their exit caused outrage across Australia, with die-hard fans setting up Facebook pages and petitions against the final and even threatening to boycott the show. Fast forward a few months later and although fan outrage has somewhat died down the dads are still moving full steam ahead, juggling their burgeoning cooking career while also returning to their previous roles as teachers.
“We’ve had the two worlds collide, we’ve both gone back to full time teaching and then there are all these other obligations and commitments we’re trying to fit in,” says Paul, as he and Blair plate up some of their signature dishes at the Queensland Caravan, Camping and Touring Show in The Domestic Stand at the RNA Show Grounds. “This is not what we expected. We thought it would sort of die a natural death and we’d just be forgotten, and that may still well happen. But at this stage there is still a lot of interest in us and people wanting us to help at events and appear at different functions.
“We didn’t realise how many people watched the show and how many people were engaged with it. You never know how you are going to come across on TV and we’ve been very humbled to be able to talk with families, kids and older people across the board. They say things to us like ‘you were robbed’ and ‘we loved you on the show’ and a whole range of things.”
The level of editing and the portrayal of contestants on My Kitchen Rules has been a hotly debated subject since finalist Kelly Ramsay recently came forward saying she is broke and has had to be hospitalised following the show’s run, blaming editing for portraying her as a villain. Paul and Blair have taken a different tact however, owning up to their comments and behavior on the show while also being openly in awe of the editing process used to pull the footage together.
“Watching yourself on TV is a shock to the system,” Paul says.” You live and breathe it while you are filming but when you actually watch yourself the sound of your own voice on TV is never pleasant. It’’s interesting to watch how they edit it, they’re very clever.
“We know what the raw footage was but to see them put it all together, to put all those hours together to make 48 minutes per episode, is awe inspiring. It’s amazing to see what they can do and how they can manipulate story lines. There is a lot you don’t get to see, but in the context of being edited poorly, you give them the raw material. If you say something, they get to use it. A lot of people were criticising some of the other contestants for what they said and Blair and I were just mindful that there’s a filter between your brain and your mouth and you should engage it. If you think before you speak nine times out of ten they can’t edit you badly.”
Since the show wrapped the dads have been keeping busy teaching, spending time with their families on the Gold Coast and working on a new project that they were happy to spill the beans on.
“We’ve got a cookbook coming out at Christmas and so we are busily writing recipes because we’ve got to have our manuscript done in about two weeks,” Paul says.” 2dads Cooking for Family and Friends will be out at all good book stores. It’s nothing that you’ve seen on the show, we can’t use any of those recipes as they’re all owned by Channel Seven. So it’s the same style of food, we wanted to keep all the recipes simple, flavorsome and predominately healthy.”
Fans and book editors may be fawning all over the pair, but at home and in the classroom it’s been a different story.
“We’re still expected to cook at home. The bar has been raised and the expectations are high,” jokes Paul. “It’s been very leveling to be back in the classroom, because the kids don’t care that we’ve been on TV. They have all been very supportive, though, and really interested in the culture of food.”
“It’s like having two full time jobs,” Blair says.” We’re at school Monday to Thursday and then the weekends are full up but we’ve been mindful to make sure we have family time. We feel privileged to attend all these events and it’s a bit surreal to see all these people come out just to see us cook.
“We’re excited to be one of the first My Kitchen Rules teams to get a book out. It’s just interesting how we didn’t get to the finals but we seem to be doing quite well.”
Want more My Kitchen Rules? Check out the show’s most shocking moments.